Chicago Tribune - October 3, 1980

Cub blunders help Phils tie Expos for lead; title series next


By Dave Nightingale, Chicago Tribune Press Service


PHILADELPHIA – At least it will be clean, swift and decisive – the outcome of the 1980 National League east Pennant race.


The Cubs made sure of that here Thursday night, handling a gift-wrapped 4-2 victory to the Phillies, who thus moved into a first place tie at 89-70 with idle Montreal.


that sets up a best-of-three pre-playoff playoff between the Phils and Expos in Montreal, starting Friday night, to decide the champion.


“That's the way it should be; it will wrap up a great summer in the NL East and in all baseball,” said Phils reliever Tug McGraw, who preserved the wind for rookie Bob Walk to earn his 19th save.  “Going up there won't bother us. The bottom line is who wins; the where and how don't matter.”


“WE’VE PLAYED a long way with our backs to the wall to get this far," said Phils Manager Dallas Green.  “The Expos have to be a little bit concerned about us. They came down here last weekend and beat us two out of three in our own park, so they know something like that can happen.”


Everything happened to the Cubs here Thursday night... everything that shouldn't have happened.


The only bright note of the evening was that bill Buckner got three hits in four trips to raise his average to .32389 – just a hair's breadth behind league leader Gary Templeton of St. Louis [.32394].


One of the hits by the Cubs first baseman originally was ruled an error on Pete Rose. But Rose, first base umpire John McSherry, and Buckner convinced official scorer Bob Kenny that the ball hit a seam in the artificial turf and took a weird hop.


BUCKNER’S BID four individual glory did nothing, however, to improve the dreams of Cubs rookie righthander Randy Martz. Or of cub manager Joey Amalfitano.


Martz pitch six innings of four-hit ball, allowing only one run – Mike Schmidt’s 46th Homer for a 1-1 tie in the fourth. Martz did not figure in the decision.


Amalfitano did figure in the decision. Every move he made, or didn't make, turned into chicken feathers.


in the 7th inning, with one out and Jim Tracy at third, Joey let slumping catcher Mike O'Berry [.196] bat against Walk – even though O’Berry had popped out in a similar situation in the second. This time he fanned, and pitch hitter Scot Thompson flied out to end the inning.


“I didn't hit for O’Berry, because it was too early in the game,” said Amalfitano.


WITH THE SCORE tide in the last of the 7th, Amalfitano called on Bill Caudill in relief instead of bullpen ace Bruce Sutter [who was not employed until the Cubs were behind by a run].


“I used Caudill Because he has done well against the Phils before,” said Amalfitano. “It was not with an eye to next year.”


Caudill didn't do well this time, yielding a double to Del Unser and a single to Keith Moreland for a 2=1 Phillie lead.


The Cubs chased Walk in the eighth, putting runners on first and second with one out. Lefty Larry Biittner then was allowed to hit against the left-handed McGraw, even though Amalfitano had right-handed Mike Vail, Dave Kingman, and Cliff Johnson on the bench. Biittner hit into an inning-ending double play.


“I let Biittner hit because it takes McGraw's best pitch [the screwball] away from him and because Larry has batted against Tug several times before,” said Amalfitano.


THE PHILS PUT the game away with two unearned runs in the eighth against Caudill and Sutter, both runs following a wild two-out throw by Steve Dillard. It was the 33rd error of the season by a Cub third baseman and ultimately made the difference because the Cubs scored in the ninth when Vail – finally permitted to bat – socked an RBI double to raise his average to 299.


But taking advantage of errors to score insurance runs is why the Phils are going to Montreal to play for the title this weekend.


And making errors to give up insurance runs is why the Cubs are going to Pittsburgh this weekend – where one loss will guarantee them last place